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Cadets Q&A: Ask the expert

14 November 2022

Ask the expert is for all members with questions or concerns about cadet training, including coursework, exams, seatime, and getting that all-important first job onboard.

Ask the expert – safety issues

Q: What should I do if I think there might be a safety issue onboard while I'm on my seatime phase?

A: As a cadet, you might feel a bit uncertain about whether you should mention a potential safety issue – but you have a responsibility to the rest of the crew to bring it up, as you could help to prevent one of your colleagues from being seriously injured.

In the first instance, you can talk to the designated shipboard training officer about your concerns. The next person to consult is the vessel's master.

Other potential avenues for assistance are your training provider, the vessel's flag state, or port authorities.

As your trade union, Nautilus is also always ready to assist you and provide guidance on what to do. You can get in touch with Rachel Lynch, our strategy organiser with responsibility for cadets, or with the office for your branch of the Union (see www.nautilusint.org/en/contact).

 

Ask the expert – resitting courses

Q. What happens if I fail my UK courses? Can I resit them?

A. The short answer is yes. You can resit some or all of your courses. However, SMarT funding is not available for repeated phases. That means that, unless your sponsoring employer will pay for you to repeat phases without SMarT funding, you will have to self-fund your training, which can run into thousands of pounds.

You may also be able to resit particular exams. You might be asked to pay an additional administration fee for this, although many colleges will allow you one or more resits free of charge before they require additional funds.

Source: MGN455

 

 

Ask the expert – training

Ask the expert is for all members with questions or concerns about cadet training, including coursework, exams, seatime, and getting that all-important first job onboard.

Q: I joined the UK Royal Naval Reserve but my sponsor is reluctant to give me the time off I need for training. What can I do?

Unfortunately, employers don't have to give either unpaid or paid time off for training, although they are required to give you time away from work if a mobilisation order is given. In this case your job will be protected, by law.

This guidance applies to reservists with the RNR and the other branches of the armed forces.

Many employers are happy to give time off for training, but if your sponsor is not then it is best to get in touch with the RNR as they may be able to help you.

Ask the expert – cadetships

Ask the expert is for all members with questions or concerns about cadet training, including coursework, exams, seatime, and getting that all-important first job onboard.

Q: I cancelled my cadet training to pursue other interests, but now want to return. Can I get funding for a second cadetship?

A:The government funded SMarT scheme has strict rules on eligibility which training providers must meet, so check with them first before applying to study.

The scheme allows for a maximum of 150 instalments unless the trainee is either issued with their first CoC in less than 150 weeks or where the trainee ceases training for any reason.

Where SMarT has been claimed in full by another training provider, no further SMarT funding will be payable. However, where only some SMarT has been paid, the remaining instalments (up to a maximum of 150) may be claimed to enable the trainee to continue their training.

Ask the expert – seatime

Ask the expert is for all members with questions or concerns about cadet training, including coursework, exams, seatime, and getting that all-important first job onboard.

Q: I am a UK cadet who has not been able to do any sea time due to the pandemic, and now need to do 12 months at the end of my course. What options are available?

A: Hundreds of UK cadets were caught out by pandemic travel restrictions, which meant they could not complete their sea time.

To solve that problem, Nautilus has reached agreement with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) to allow consecutive phasing of sea time.

Under the agreement, sea time should be no longer than five months at a time. Cadets should have readily-available free access to the internet and regular check-ups with the training provider, friends and family. Cadets who are being consecutively phased will receive a minimum of one week's leave for every month onboard, which must be taken before they can join another vessel.

So, a cadet with 12 months of sea time needed to complete their training could do four months on and one month off in three stages. Talk to your training provider or college for further information.

Ask the expert – pandemic queries

Q: I am a UK cadet who has not been able to do any sea time due to the pandemic, and now need to do 12 months at the end of my course. What options are available?

A: Hundreds of UK cadets were caught out by pandemic travel restrictions, which meant they could not complete their sea time.

To solve that problem, Nautilus has reached agreement with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) to allow consecutive phasing of sea time.

Under the agreement, sea time should be no longer than five months at a time. Cadets should have readily-available free access to the internet and regular check-ups with the training provider, friends and family.

Cadets who are being consecutively phased will receive a minimum of one week's leave for every month onboard, which must be taken before they can join another vessel.

So, a cadet with 12 months of sea time needed to complete their training could do four months on and one month off in three stages. Talk to your training provider or college for further information.

Q: I have not been able to finish my course due to the pandemic and have run out of funding, what can I do?

A: Good news! The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has extended its cadet funding by up to 12 months in total for cadets who can't complete their training and obtain their Certificate of Competency (CoC) within the 150-week SMarT funding period due to Covid restrictions. Funding extensions are available up to and including 31 October 2024.

There are several reasons to claim:

A delay has occurred in completing STCW safety courses, which were unavailable
A delay has occurred in obtaining seagoing service
A delay has occurred in completing an MCA-approved long course at college
A delay has occurred in completing MCA Written Exam Papers
Funding requests will be considered by the MCA on a case-by-case basis. Ask your sponsor company to apply.

infonl@nautilusint.org

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